Though it is often mentioned about how bad cholesterol is and how it affects heart health, cholesterol is actually a vital part of how a body functions. Cholesterol is a fat produced by the liver. The body does not require any helping creating cholesterol. Outside cholesterol is produced by the foods we eat, mainly meat and dairy products, along with shellfish. Plant based foods are for the most part, cholesterol free. The problem with health and fitness occurs when excess cholesterol accumulates within the body and causes a narrowing of the arteries. There are steps that can be taken to reduce bad cholesterol intake and up the good kind. Yes, there is actually good cholesterol.
There is LDL cholesterol and HDL cholesterol. Low-density lipoprotein carries the stigma of ‘bad’ cholesterol. High blood cholesterol is relatively symptom free, so most are unaware of the dangers lurking within their bodies. In high levels, cholesterol builds up in arteries making one susceptible to heart disease, as well as other maladies, affecting health and fitness. High-density lipoprotein is the ‘good’ cholesterol. It carries cholesterol to the liver. The liver then processes the cholesterol, removing it.
Factors that raise LDL are often the same things that are advertised as bad for health in general. This includes smoking, eating foods containing saturated fats, inactivity, and weight gain. The reason smoking is dangerous is that it actually lowers the good cholesterol or HDL. Those that are not smokers, but are victims of secondhand smoke also end up with lowered HDL. Foods high in fat, especially saturated and trans fats, cause LDL levels to spike. Inactivity contributes to high blood cholesterol by not only raising the bad cholesterol, but also lowering the levels of good cholesterol. This is all detrimental to health and fitness.
All that being said health and fitness can be improved with reducing LDL and raising HDL cholesterol levels. It is important therefore to select the best diet program to improve good cholesterol levels and reduce bad cholesterol. Medication can be used, but most can follow a simple plan to lower all but the most stubborn cholesterol levels. These steps include common sense behaviors such as eating the right foods, taking the time to exercise, and quitting smoking. Oatmeal has been used in studies to show its effect on high cholesterol. This fiber rich food acts as a broom, sweeping cholesterol away. Foods high in omega fatty acids, such as flax seed, walnuts, and olive oil are all known to enhance good cholesterol levels. Nuts and oil are high in fat, so moderation is key. Exercise raises endorphins, but it also raises HDL levels, while minimizing LDL levels and improving heart health. There are plenty of ways to ruin the body, but small changes can bring about great health. Selecting the best diet program to help bring about these small changes is paramount.